Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 25 May 2011

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.01pm in open session.

Chairperson’s Introduction

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Kieran McCarthy, Deputy Chairperson and Committee Members to the first meeting of the Committee and outlined the remit of the Committee.

1. Apologies

As detailed.

2. Committee Membership

Members noted details of the Committee’s composition.

3. Contact Details

Members noted the contact details for committee office staff.

Members also noted that committee research papers are normally published on the Assembly website once the paper has been presented to the Committee.

4. Declaration of Interests

Members noted that all Assembly Members are required to register relevant interests in the Register of Members’ Interests and that once Members have registered these interests each committee will be provided with the specific details of each of its own members.

The Chairperson reminded Members that under Standing Order 64 (4) that,

“Before taking part in any debate or proceedings of the Assembly or its Committees, a Member shall declare any interest, financial or otherwise, which is relevant to that debate or proceedings, where such interest is held by the Member or an immediate relative.”

Members noted that ‘proceeding’ of the Assembly includes meetings of the Committee and that as this is the first meeting of the Committee Members should declare any interests held by them which are relevant to the work of the Committee.

No interests were declared.

Members noted that the rules governing the registration and declaration of interests are contained in ‘The Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members’ and that further advice and guidance is available from the Clerk of Standards.

5. Procedures

Members noted the following guidance documents:

  • Guide to the Powers and Operation of Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees for Chairpersons and Members
  • Guide to the role of the Committee Chairperson
  • Guide for Members on the Role and Functions of the Committee Office
  • Providing an effective Research Service to Committees – Good Practice Guidelines.

The Chairperson also drew Members’ attention to guidance on privilege and matters of sub-judice.

6. Organisational Chart

Members noted the Clerking and Reporting Directorate’s Organisational chart.

7. Arrangements for Committee Meetings

Agreed: Members noted the arrangements for Committee meetings and agreed that the Committee would meet in future at 1.15pm instead of the scheduled meeting time of 2.00pm.

8. Clerk’s Briefing

Members noted the Clerk’s Briefing Note together with the Committee remit and powers and Standing Orders appended to the briefing note.

Members also noted the Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members.

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the background to the role and functions of the Committee on Standards and Privileges and provided an update on some current issues that the Committee would have to consider.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should write to the Assembly Commission requesting that it table a motion seeking to have the functions set out in section 19(4) of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act delegated to it.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should write to Dr Frawley, to express the Committee’s appreciation for his continued commitment in his role as Interim Assembly Commissioner for Standards and to invite him to attend the next meeting of the Committee.

9. Draft Forward Work Plan

Agreed: Members agreed the future work to be undertaken by the Committee as outlined in the Draft Forward Work Plan.

10. Members’ Contact Pro Forma

The Chairperson requested that members complete the Members’ Contact Pro Forma and return it to the committee office staff.

11. Any other business

The Clerk advised the Committee of a particular query which had been raised by a number of Members who were completing the Members’ Interests Registration Form. The Committee agreed that Members who had been councillors in the previous council mandate, but were no longer councillors, were not required to register those interests which had arisen from having been a councillor but which had not technically ceased until shortly after they had become Members.

12. Time, date and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 1.15pm on Wednesday, 8 th June 2011 in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

Mr Alastair Ross MLA
Chairperson, Committee on Standards and Privileges
8th June 2011

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